The Storys

The Storys

Ryko, 2007

REVIEW BY: Sean McCarthy


Few bands could dream of scoring as many breaks as The Storys have. Formed in 2003, the band has already played to an audience of more than 70,000 near Buckingham Palace. In addition, the band will be supporting Elton John on tour dates this summer. Just as David Bowie has prided himself on being one of TV On The Radio’s biggest cheerleaders, Elton John has raved publicly about the band’s self-titled debut album.

The debut album from the South Wales sextet is an extremely unified release, considering the band has four singer/songwriters. Virtually all of the songs on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Storys include a rousing, melodic chorus and harmonies that recall late ‘60s and early ‘70s laid-back California rock -- with a liberal coat of studio gloss for good measure.

The light-as-air vocals come courtesy of Steve Balsamo, Andy Collins and Dai Smith. The harmonies and pop-centered musicianship make The Storys sound like an “all bases covered” album. You have a few uplifting rockers (“I Believe In Love,” “Be By Your Side”), a few heart-tugging ballads (“You’re Not Around,” “Cinnamon”) and even a few genre shifts for good measure, such as “You’re Taking My Heart Away,” which has a Latin groove that’s pure Santana down to the brief, fuzzy guitar solo just about a minute into the song.

If there’s a repeated thread, lyrically, it’s vulnerability. In “High Enough,” Balsamo pleads “”Darling I need you / Weak as I am / I can’t release you.” “Be By Your Side” and “Save Me” are packed with quasi-religious imagery that could easily be played at a contemporary Christian church service, yet not preachy enough to repel secularists.

If you’re looking for an almost perfectly-constructed pop album, The Storys is a safe bet. In fact, it’s almost criminal that this album took a year to be released in the United States.

The only problem is that The Storys is almost too clean of a release. What’s missing are those wonderful elements of “messing up” that are included in some of The Storys’ influences, namely Fleetwood Mac, The Beatles and The Beach Boys. On paper, The Storys is about as close to pop perfection as you can get. But as a full listen, it’s that perfection that occasionally hurts the band.

Here’s hoping the band has the gumption to risk a few sloppy missteps on their second release.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


© 2007 Sean McCarthy and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Ryko, and is used for informational purposes only.